RAMALLAH – The Israeli daily Haaretz on Monday revealed that 124 Israeli soldiers committed suicide over the past six years.
The daily quoted a new 49-page report prepared by the Knesset Research and Information Center as saying that most soldiers who commit suicide have spent less than a year in the army, with 20 percent having been in service less than six months.
The report said that the 82 percent of suicides were conscripts doing their compulsory service, though 12 were standing army soldiers and 10 were reservists. Of the 124, only one was doing his mandatory service with the Israel Police. It added that 13 female soldiers committed suicide.
According to the report, 70 of those soldiers who committed suicide were native-born Jews and eight were Muslim or Druze. Over a third of the suicides were immigrants: 25 had been born in the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, 10 in Ethiopia and another 10 were born elsewhere, the report said.
Fifty-seven of the suicides served in front-line units (on the borders or in combat or combat-support roles), while 66 served in non-combat units.
Most of the suicides shot themselves to death using their personal weapons, with 103 soldiers committing suicide this way. Sixteen killed themselves by hanging. The others used other methods, including one who overdosed on pills.
The report criticizes the IMF ministry establishment’s lack of transparency with regard to suicide statistics, which are not publicized. Nor is there any information readily available regarding Israeli army anti-suicide programs. The report’s authors noted they had great difficulty getting information and at one point had to get the Knesset legal bureau involved in order to obtain it.
(Source / 13.08.2013)